Goal: Quit My New Job and Travel

I was looking through old photos from my travels while I was studying abroad in college, and it made me miss my independence. In my second year at Ithaca College (I later transferred to NYU), I decided the town was too small for a gal like me and signed up for a semester in Spain. Little did I know, I would never return to Ithaca.

When I first arrived in Barcelona, I was excited for a change of scenery. I stayed with a senora, her cat Deraymon and her wonderful boyfriend Armand (they were an old couple, so it was exceptionally sweet). I also couldn’t have asked for better roommates; the four of us were completely different but we got along like sisters and are still in touch today even though we’re each on a different continent (Hannah is in Guatemala with the Peace Corps. Check out her blog!).

Hannah (Guatemala), Me (China), Deanna (New York), Ashley (London)

At the very beginning of this trip, everything was new and exciting, especially the night life. As the first weeks went by however, it started to get a little bit lonely and I spent hours upon hours getting lost and people-watching in cafes–that is how I became addicted to coffee. But gradually I started to cherish all the alone time I never had in college. At such a small school like Ithaca, it was impossible to escape, even for a moment. In Barcelona, I felt like I had all the space in the world and it was freeing.


On weekends and breaks from classes, I visited surrounding countries like Portugal and Italy, both of which I traveled to alone. That’s what brought me to write this post; I realized while going through my photos that some of my best memories have been during trips that I’d taken by myself.

Me at Parque Guell in Barcelona

Sure, it got lonely at times–like the 23 hour “cruise” from Italy to Spain, during which I just had to dream about Titanic–but the majority of my time was spent gawking over Europe’s beauty both in landscape and in people. All that space and time also made me think, about anything and everything. I remember sitting at the front of the boat, staring into the endlessness of the sea thinking that if I were to die in that moment, I would’ve died happy,  and my life would’ve been a good one. Of course I didn’t die, in fact I’m alive and kickin’, but the point is I was happy, and I was alone then.

I wasn’t always alone though. Making friends was easy as everyone in hostels seemed to need a friend–I still keep in touch with some of them. Some of my best friends from the States also came to visit and traveled with me as well while I was in Spain.  I also went to Morocco with friends and had the most amazing

experience of my life driving through the desert with Berbers and sleeping under the stars.

Mohamed headed to the depths of the sand dunes where life is good.

I miss that independence terribly, and wish I could explore China the same way–just me and my backpack, although a friend wouldn’t hurt. My situation is different now though; I live with my mom and I have a full-time job. What I’m living now is life, but not the life I have in mind. It sounds silly to complain about my job while millions of people can’t even find one, but I’m not one to stick with something I’m not happy with (my ex-boyfriend was an exception). I realize that I am so lucky to have the privilege to say, “I’m not happy here. I’m quitting.” But that’s exactly what I plan on doing, because my time here (in China) is short (give or take a few years, but compared to a lifetime it’s not a long time). I want to make sure I take the time to explore the country in which my ancestors  who I know absolutely nothing about are from, to learn about my heritage, this language, and my family (I didn’t even know what my grandparents’ did for a living until recently, and I still can’t remember my grandma’s Chinese name).

Portugal

Lonely Planet: China is already collecting dust on my bookshelf (Beijing is an exceptionally dusty city) and waiting for its pages to be flipped through. I am getting antsy at my job thinking about all the places that await me, food that has yet to be tasted, people I have yet to meet. It helps that I read so many amazing accounts of people’s travels through WordPress that inspire me to quit my job. Therefore, whether or not my parents will allow me–yes, after years of living on my own, I am back to curfews–to travel by myself, I will think of some way to find the space and those alone moments I once cherished.

Free!

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13 Comments on “Goal: Quit My New Job and Travel”

  1. Fantastico racconto di vita 🙂

  2. Great post, Emily! I often go through the same thing here–while I love my job (most days) and the people I know here in my site, I find myself getting antsy to get out there and travel. Especially after meeting a lot of Couchsurfers who are doing just that through Central and South America. But my (and your) time will come, I’m sure of it!!

    • E. He says:

      I know it will, you’re right. But you are doing something that ordinary people can’t commit to, and I love you for it! I still remember when you first brought up the peace corps while we were in Spain…sigh…those days were good, weren’t they?

  3. […] friend Hannah, who I mentioned in a previous post, is in Guatemala with the Peace Corps making a real difference that most people, including myself, […]

  4. DO IT, NOW!
    I dare you……..

  5. Kelly Murphy says:

    Yes. WordPress win. (I’m reading this while I should be writing an essay of my own!)

  6. b r says:

    Are you on CouchSurfing? I’m planning on quitting my job (hopefully soon!) and traveling, as well 🙂 Maybe one day we will cross paths. Good luck on your adventures ❤

    • Emily He says:

      Nope, not couch surfing (I wonder how the Chinese would handle having strangers in their home…), although I think it’s a wonderful concept that I’ll make use of one day. Looking forward to crossing paths! 🙂


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